Game Republic's Yoshiki Okamoto, a twenty year industry vet whose credits include Street Fighter II, Resident Evil and, more recently, Folklore, tells Gamasutra he fears the Japanese game industry may be in danger of suffering the same fate that befell Atari in the early '80s. If you're too young to remember, a glut of software for the Atari 2600 and its peers, the majority of which we'll be nice enough to describe as liquid faeces written in assembler, flooded the market, resulting in a industry crushing crash.
Today's problem? A glut of software—particularly "brain" games—for the Nintendo DS published by inexperienced companies looking to make a quick buck.
"People are talking about how the second 'Atari crash' is around the corner," Okamoto tells Gamasutra "And Nintendo is the one that has to figure out a way to stop it."
He warns that the over-inflated market may come back to bite Nintendo in the corporate arse, that it would be "foolish" to allow history to repeat itself. While it may seem unlikely that a company on the scale of Nintendo, one who is flush with cash and whose key economic interests lie in the video game market—as opposed to the Warner Bros. of the eighties—will be as heavily impacted by a change in tastes and a deflated market, but he may have a point.
We suspect that Nintendo themselves will be fine, with me-too publishers pulling out of the pseudo-educational game market when the shine wears off. We also won't shed a tear when they're gone.
For the full and extensive Okamoto interview, check out Gamasutra.
Yoshiki Okamoto: Japan's Game Maverick Speaks [Gamasutra]